Watch Stephen Malkmus Play Traditional Techniques And Debut Songs With New Band In Portland

Watch Stephen Malkmus Play Traditional Techniques And Debut Songs With New Band In Portland

Back in the earliest weeks of 2020, before pandemic life set in, Stephen Malkmus began rolling out Traditional Techniques, a folk-oriented album recorded with the Decemberists’ Chris Funk and guitar-slinging indie journeyman Matt Sweeney, hot on the heels of 2018’s indie-centric Jicks effort Sparkle Hard and 2019’s electronic-tinged solo LP Groove Denied. A full two years later, Malkmus is finally playing some shows in support of Traditional Techniques with his newly formed Trad Tech Band, which includes Funk, Brad Truax, and Jake Morris. Supposedly Sweeney will join them tonight in Mexico for their set at Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky festival, but Sunday night at Portland’s Alberta Abbey it was just the four of them.

The setlist for this first Malkmus show of the COVID era was fascinating. Beyond tracks from Traditional Techniques, there were two new songs (“Making Friends” and “MTV”) and a Pavement classic from Wowee Zowee, “Father To A Sister Of Thought,” which certainly fits the rootsy vibe. Malkmus also dusted off the Silver Jews’ “Blue Arrangements” from American Water, and a setlist suggests they’ve been prepping a cover of Wilco’s “Box Full Of Letters.” The Silver Jews song hasn’t surfaced online yet, and it looks like they didn’t debut the Wilco cover, but presumably they’ll play them again at Sky Blue Sky. In the meantime, you can see fan-made footage of quite a few songs below, including the two new ones.

UPDATE: Someone posted audio of the full set, so here’s that!

Here’s the setlist:

Starting on the fourth slide, here is footage of “Amberjack,” “Xian Man,” “Signal Western,” the new “Making Friends,” the also-new “MTV,” “Brainwashed,” and “Juliefuckingette”:

And here’s the band performing Pavement’s “Father To A Sister Of Thought”:

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